Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mark 11:1-11 - Sermon - Clip-idy Clop

Mark 11:1-11
The Triumphant Entry

Clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop. Daniel was standing on the outskirts of the city when he heard that noise. He didn’t think much of it, the sound of hoofs on the stone streets was a common sound in the city. He didn’t really pay much attention until he heard the crowd starting to chant. That caught his attention and he went to investigate. What he saw was a small parade heading towards one of the entrances to the city from the Mount of Olives. There were people walking in a group around a man riding a donkey. It was when he noticed the donkey that his ears picked up that unmistakable sound, clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop.

The Passover always brought a weird bunch into the city. Daniel was use to putting up with tourists as they made the journey to the Holy City to make their sacrifices at the temple. It was during this time though that Daniel liked to hide out in his home because he wasn’t a fan of large crowds. Only when the day of sacrifice came did he like to venture out into his home town and make his way through the crowd to the temple. He only went out if needed and for nothing more.

As he looked on to his rag tag parade there was something that pulled him in. Two of the men that were behind the donkey were talking to one another. They weren’t like the others who were following this man. The others were laughing and smiling. They were almost waving to the growing crowd, hyping them up as the donkey approached the gate. The two that were talking though had a look of wonderment on their face. Their look was one of questioning, almost not understanding why they were in this parade to being with. Daniel wondered if they even wanted to be apart of this convoy. Maybe it was that thought that made him want to see where this parade ended up. So he moved closer to the path they were taking as the donkey passed through the gate of the city, clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop.

Once they got into the city the small streets made the crowd start to stand shoulder to shoulder. It made the crowd seem to grow in size and now the far off chanting that Daniel heard was echoing and bouncing off the buildings. His ears were full with the shouts of, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David. Hosanna in the highest! Why were they singing this? It fits with the Passover festival but it wasn’t a common one he always heard. Daniel knew this Psalm, yet he could also sense a different tone of excitement in their voices. There was something special that was attached. As the shouts entered Daniel’s body he was gripped by the excitement. He felt his pulse start to race and he himself started to get excited about this person on the donkey.

Daniel started around the block to hopefully move ahead of the crowd and to be able to see the rider better. He still couldn’t see who this person was and now his curiosity about why he was so important was getting the best of him. As he reached the corner of the bakery and headed west, it hit him what was special about the shouts of the crowd. It was the phrase Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David. This was a special Praise Psalm associated with the Messiah, THE MESSIAH!!! This psalm was speaking about being saved. The crowds weren’t just being excited about the Passover coming, this was something more, something bigger. Daniel knew he had to see who this person was riding on the donkey.

He turned the next corner and because of his anxious footsteps he stumbled over one of the cobblestones that was raised up a little. He tripped and fell to the ground. As he picked himself up and dusted himself off he noticed that the edge of the crowd was starting to appear down the street. Daniel broke out into a run and as the crowd started to fill the space between the buildings he was just able to squeeze himself in order to get a good look at the rider. As he stepped onto this tiptoes he could hear the donkey’s footsteps, clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop.

Daniel was up as high as his dusty sandals would let him get. He stretched and stretched to try and make out who this rider was. Just as the rider was almost upon him the crowded opened for a second and he could see the rider in full view. He wasn’t wearing anything special; it was the garb of a normal man. One could tell by the smirk on Daniel’s face that he was a little disappointed that he wasn’t wearing something more spectacular; maybe a white flowing gown, or maybe a purple cloak, something that set him apart from all the other tourists there for Passover.

The crowd started to fill in the space but in this moment time seemed to stop for Daniel. As he looked up at the riders face Daniel was captivated by his smile. The man on the donkey was rocking with the donkey’s footsteps, back and forth, back and forth. As the rider looked over the crowd, he was smiling. He was enjoying parade and the shouts that were now overflowing the street they were on. As Daniel looked on he could not escape but staring at him. In a second the rider had turned and looked in Daniel’s direction. In this moment he and the rider’s eyes connected. Daniel stood there paralyzed and in awe. A warm wave swept over him. It tricked down his spine from this head and landed in his toes. It was then that Daniel realized who the rider was. Time caught up again and the void in the crowd closed. Once again Daniel heard the donkey’s footsteps, clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop.

The crowd pushed Daniel back into the alley way. All he could do was stare at the wall. The one on the back of the donkey was the one that everyone was talking about. He was the one who fed the 5000 and walked on water. He was the one that was healing all the sick people. He was the one who was eating with tax collectors and making the Pharisees truly upset by calling them hypocrites. He was the one that spoke in parables and taught in such a way that your soul was stirred. This was Jesus of Nazareth.

Now Daniel was starting to really get excited. He had heard people talking about this person and how they thought he was the Messiah. He was the one who was going to come into Jerusalem and finally bring order to the city. He was going to kick out the Romans, yank Pilate off his throne. He was the one who was going to make Israel whole and mighty again and he was going to rule over the world. Daniel headed back down the alley hoping to once again get ahead of the crowd. As he did the sound of the donkey started to get muffled. Instead of the sharp sound of the hoofs hitting the stone, it was something else, which made Daniel run harder.

Daniel flew around the corner just in time and was able to get into the crowd this time. Once in the flow he understood the muffling sound. The donkey wasn’t walking on the stones any more. The people who were ahead of him were taking off their cloaks and laying them down on the ground for the donkey to walk on. Others had brought in branches and where stretching them out on the road as well. This reminded Daniel of the story he had heard growing up in the temple. It seemed a lot like the pilgrim festival of Tabernacles. People would walk ahead waving branches and singing hymns too. Daniel knew that this must be the Messiah than. The people here were way to excited to put all this effort into welcoming someone who was not the Messiah.

Daniel moved with the crowd now. He felt himself start to yell with them. Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna in the highest! As the parade turned the corner Daniel knew exactly where they were heading, the Temple. This was it. He was going to be in the front seat of history. The Messiah was coming into Jerusalem and he was going to watch the havoc that was to come. He personally was going to see the Romans soldiers get kicked out of the city. He was going to be involved in the grassroots of this revolution and this really pleased him. Excitement didn’t describe what he was feeling. Enthusiasm was getting a little closer but it was more. Anticipation was settling in and what Daniel was feeling was more like exhilaration.

The parade made its way to the Temple, the people there were a little curious on what was going on. The guards perked up and were ready for whatever was going to happen. People were leaving the temple area because it was starting to get late in the day. The rider, Jesus, the Messiah, pulled the donkey and it stopped. He got off the donkey and whispered something into one of his followers ears and then started up the Temple steps. About midway up Jesus stopped. Daniel’s heart skipped a beat. Jesus looked around the courtyard, looked around the piece of the city he could see and didn’t say anything. Daniel could sense that he and the rest of crowd were all waiting for baited breath for something big to happen.

Jesus turned back around and went into the temple. Only about a minute later he came back out. He walked down the stairs and his disciples soon were around him. He nodded and smiled and then they walked back down the path they had come. Daniel looked on stunned. What had happened? Where was the big battle, the big uproar? He conferred with the person standing next to him. Though both over heard a couple of more people saying it was too late in the day for anything to start. They agreed that Messiah probably came in just to check thing out, and that later on this week is when the real stuff was going to happen.

The crowd began to break up and Daniel decided to head back to his house. As he walked back he tried to think of all the things that might happen. Total take over. The Romans embarrassed and shunned. The Messiah sitting on the throne in the city. It was going to be exciting. This Passover crowd would be unlike any that he had experienced. He arrived back home and decided to take a look over the city wall one last time. When he did he saw the now small band of people walking with Jesus. The donkey was being guided by one of his followers. Jesus was walking in the middle of the crowd. Daniel looked on and smiled. He turned around to go home, his ears picked up once more the sound of the donkey walking on the road, clip-idy clop, clip-idy clop. He smiled and went home, excited about the future and what this person, this Messiah would bring later this week.

And all God's people said...Amen

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